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Band Profile:
The Staffordshire Band

The Staffordshire Band can trace its roots back to before the turn of the last century, when it was known as the Walsall Wood Institute Temperance Band.

In the 1920's the band fell on hard times and became bankrupt but out of the ashes the Aldridge Colliery Silver Prize Band was formed. Their first radio broadcast was on the BBC in the 1930's.

During the Second World War, the band joined with the Bloxwich British Legion and Bescot Bands to become the Walsall Home Guard Band.

In 1954 the band was renamed the Aldridge Town Band and, with the help of a Councellor Owen, are promised uniforms and instruments. Success followed in 1956 when the band was placed 5th at the National Brass Band Championships held at the Royal Albert Hall, Nottingham (the records do not make clear in which Section the band played). A month later, due to economic circumstances, the Council withdraws its promise to provide uniforms and instruments, however in 1957 events change again and the Council are able to present new instruments at a concert at the BRD.

In 1966, when the two local authorities amalgamate, the band becomes the Aldridge Brownhill Brass Band and in 1968 move into their new Bandroom sited at the playing fields in Rushall, Walsall - premises the band still use.

Aldridge Brownhills Council purchases a full set of new instruments for the band at a cost of £5000 in 1973, which were officially handed over at a concert at Tynings Lane School. In keeping pace with local government boundary changes, the band changed its name in 1975 to the Walsall Metropolitan Band and is one of the few bands in the country to enjoy the support of their local council.

1977 brought the band its first victory at the National Championships in the 3rd Section under the direction of Peter Bright and because of the honour it brought to Walsall, were invited in January 1978 to a civic reception at the Council House lead by the Mayor of Walsall, Councellor Leadbetter.

Promotion to the Championship Section in 1980 lead for the need of commercial sponsorship and Servis Domestic Appliances of Darlaston provided funding for 3 years and the band became the Walsall Servis Band under Musical Director Peter Marnoch. In July 1983 the band obtained sponsorship via M&B Brewers (West) Limited and became the Walsall Highgate Band. During this period the band's Musical Director was Ralph Hall, until in September 1985 he left to take up a teaching post in Iceland. In August 1988 the sponsors changed again and for the next 3 years the band was known as the C.I.Group Band. Success followed under the band's Musical Director Mike West and in 1991, the band became Midlands Area Champions with an invitation to the National Brass Band Championships at the Royal Albert Hall, London.
In 1993, the sponsors for the next 5 years changed to the Staffordshire Building Society coinciding with the appointment of a new Musical Director - Andy Culshaw, and in 1998 the band qualified once again for the National Finals.

1998 also saw the end of sponsorship for the band and its name changed again, this time to The Staffordshire Band and further commercial support is still being sought.

Musical Director, David Maplestone was appointed in May 2001 and brings a wealth of brass band experience, having played cornet with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band under George Thompson and has conducted many of the countrys top bands to concert and contest successes.

2002 has been the one of the band’s most successful years, both on the concert and contest platforms. It became Midlands Area Champions (First Section), qualified for the British Open Brass Band Championships at Torquay where they became the National Champion Band of Great Britain (First Section). Progress continued when they competed in the Senior Cup after coming 3rd at the Senior Trophy Contest and further became Wychavon Festival of Brass Entertainment Champions (First Section).

The band has recorded its latest CD called ‘Something 2 Celebrate’, most of the pieces for which were composed or arranged by members of the band and has also recorded a live CD at a ‘Golden Jubilee Last Night Concert’ in Walsall Town Hall in October, entitled ‘Crown Imperial’, which should be available by Christmas 2002.

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